Luc Khu is an area with high mountains in the Ha Quang district in the Cao Bang province in the far north of Vietnam. It is a remote and untouched area with clean air, small fields and a beautiful nature. The temperature varies from very hot in summer to very cold in winter. These variations in temperature however make it not really suitable for producing the large food crops such as corn and rice. Throughout the year, agricultural production depends entirely on natural rainfall as the whole region has no other source of water.
The district consists of 12 communes, half of which are at the Chinese border. The population consists largely of minority ethnic groups: Tay, Nung, Dao and H’Mong who have traditionally lived in the area.
Based on the natural and agricultural characteristics of the area combined with the requirements of the ginger plant, we at DACE have since 2015 been experimenting with the aim to develop the growing of ginger plants. The cultivation of ginger has proven to very successful. Ginger is not only growing well, but also the quality is very high: with a soft ginger fiber, a dry, firm skin, yellow flesh, strong delicate fragrance and a high content of essential oil. In recent years, leading European spice manufacturers have visited the area and confirmed the very high quality of the ginger produced in Cao Bang.
Taking advantage of the favourable climate and soil conditions for turmeric in the area, we have, jointly with the farmers, also developed the cultivation of organic turmeric in the highland of the Ha Quang district in Cao Bang. Currently an area over 50 hectares turmeric is grown there resulting a high yield and a high curcumin content.
After nearly 5 years of cooperation with local farmers, agricultural experts and the local authorities, the company has now developed 5 different spices in the Cao Bang area: ginger, turmeric, chili, lemongrass and garlic with in total a cultivated area of 200 ha. This is part of a long-term plan to grow organic spices in the area reaching a total acreage of 500 ha by 2025. To this effect, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Ha Quang district authorities in 2017.
The business model that has been developed guarantees the farmers a fair minimum price for the crops while a premium is paid in case good margins can be realized. The collaboration with the farmers supports them in their livelihood by providing a stable income.
The farmers take a very important position in the value chain that we are building, and they are core in our cooperation model.